Polar Bears and Paddleboards!
If you’ve never seen a stand-up paddlebaord before imagine a surfboard that you stand up on and literally paddle – just like the name suggests!
In August 2013 Justin will be part of an eight man team attempting a world first on paddleboards. The team will attempt to paddleboard 100km of the Sermilik Fjord on the East coast of Greenland in an audacious bid to reach the Helheim Glacier, one of the largest glaciers on Greenland.
This area of Greenland is littered with spectacular icebergs which calve off of the icecap at the head of the fjord which will give the team opportunities to take some amazing photographs with one of the most stunning backgrounds in the world and from an entirely new perspective.
The team will have to navigate icy waters, weaving out of icebergs and frozen ice debris deposited in the water whilst constantly being aware of wildlife, from whales to polar bears.
The Polar Bears and Paddleboards team are all passionate about watersports, encouraging people to get active and supporting charity interests. Please take a look at the Polar Bears and Paddleboards website to find out more about how they’re going to support and work with charities, encourage people on to the water through ‘taster days’ in and around London and work with communities to clean up Britains inland waterways.
The Dark Ice Project
There are only a few expeditions in history which have pitched adventurers and explorers against the harsh conditions of the Arctic in winter . Beginning in December 2012, as part of a two-phase project, two men will journey in to the darkness of a polar winter.
Between mid-December 2012 and mid-March 2013, Justin Miles and Alex Hibbert will travel length of the Nares Strait, the stretch of water between Greenlands north west coast and Ellesmere Island. The purpose of North 2012 (renamed ‘Dark Ice Project’) is depot supplies for the following stage, an ambitious journey to reach the North Pole from Greenland.
‘North 2012’ will see Justin and Alex Hibbert battle an Arctic winter for three months with no sunlight and temperatures hovering either side of minus fifty.
The route for the first phase will cover up to 900 miles over broken and fast moving sea ice between Ellesmere Island and North-West Greenland. Justin and Alex will set out from the Inuit village of Qaanaaq and travel north to the edge of the Arctic Ocean where they will make their final depot before returning.
This journey is going to be amazing.
This post was written before Justin was withdrawn from the project.
Channel to Channel 2012
Once again, in August just set off from Bristol to kayak across England to London in aid of the Children’s Trust.
This time Justin was joined on the water by Becky Burridge and Mark Wilson as they raced Steve ‘The Mad Medic’ Blethyn who was on foot in a true ‘Top Gear’ style race. Whilst Justin, Becky and Mark had to take in every twist and turn of the canals and rivers and carry their kayaks around the millions of locks (ok, it wasn’t actually ‘millions’ but it did feel like it!) Steve could just cut across country to get from the start to the finish.
The team were given superb support by Jamie, Lorie and Mirie Shanks who, as well as keeping them topped up with food and water also provided a huge amount of entertainment through various hilarious challenges!
On the London side, ‘Paddleboard Paul’ and the ‘Active 360’ crew (and the rest of the Shanks family!) joined in from Twickenham to the finish line at Putney.
Once again the project was a huge success and as well as raising funds for the Children’s Trust also managed to get some brilliant press coverage through newspapers, magazines, news websites, radio and even on TV.
Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant 2012
On 3rd June 2012 Justin was very proud to play a part in the Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames. In his bright yellow kayak Justin joined the 72 other kayaks forming part of the 1000 strong flotilla of boats travelling down the River Thames as part of the jubilee celebrations marking the 60 year reign of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant was an amazing project to be involved with and whilst he was there, Justin was supporting his favourite charity, the Children’s Trust.
You can read Justin’s own account of what it was like to be a part of history here
The Warwickshire Ring Challenge
Justin has teamed up with radio presenter Simon Alexander to paddle various ‘craft’ around the 106 mile Warwickshire Ring canal network (May 2012).
The event was a huge success and attracted loads of media attention, which really helps to raise the profile of the Children’s Trust.
The Quest for the Arctic Pole
There is a place deep in the Arctic where man has yet to reach. This place is at the very centre of the Arctic Ocean, the furthest point from any land mass; it is known as the Arctic Pole of Inaccessibility.
I’ve joined a team to get there – to be the very first humans to ever walk to the Arctic Pole of Inaccessibility.
Leaving in 2013 the team, lead by Arctic explorer Jim McNeill, will march some 800 miles across one of the most harsh environments on Earth to reach our goal.
We will have to cross treacherous sea-ice which could open beneath our feet plunging us in to the dark waters of the Arctic Ocean. We will have to endure temperatures cold enough to freeze exposed flesh in a matter of seconds and we will have to be ever watchful for marauding polar bears.
To succeed, our preparations will have to be perfect with as little as possible left to chance. We will need to work as a team. We will need to be at a peak of fitness. We will need steely determination and we will need to call on tremendous reserves of character.
Watch the website for news as the expedition gathers pace and I reveal more about it’s scientific goals, the team members and our training.
Channel to Channel 2011
Setting off from the salty water of the Bristol Channel, Justin and a team of followers and supporters will be kayaking across England to meet the salt water of the English Channel on the other side of the country.
The aim of the project is to get as many people involved as possible to raise awareness of the battles faced by children’ with brain injuries and to support the Children’s Trust.
You can read more about the 2011 ‘Channel to Channel’ project here
Just for the Ride… Paris
My first ‘Just for the Challenge’ charity challenge was a bike ride from London to Paris in aid of the Children’s Trust. The trip, called ‘Just for the Ride, was actually the inspiration behind the name of the website and as well as being great fun was a good opportunity to not only raise funds for the Children’s Trust, but also to raise awareness of the important work that they do.
Amongst other things, the Children’s Trust work with children who have an acquired brain injury; in other words, kids who have had a bump on the head leading to a level of damage to the brain. The Children’s Trust help to rehabilitate the children and give them back their lives, as best they can, following the incident but just as importantly they work with the families of the children to help them come to terms with the differences in their child or sibling and teach them how to offer the support needed in the family situation.
Training hard for an expedition like the Last Great Challenge is tough on mind and body, and by the start of September 2010 I was beggining to go a little ‘stir crazy’ with long gym sessions and plodding the pavements and parks of Wiltshire towing a string of tyres.
I needed a mental break. I needed to do something different to channel my energy a little in the short term and give me a few new horizons to break the boredom that was setting in. I also wanted to do something to support the Children’s Trust.
With a nudge from a school teacher friend and a friend in Paris I came up with the idea of cycling from Nelson’s Column to the Eiffel Tower. A few hours after making the decision to go the trip was set, and a few weeks later I was sat on my bike, Natalie, at the front of the queue at the ferry port in Dover.
The trip didn’t quite go as smoothly as planned; a slip from my bike whilst I was posing for a newspaper photograph smashed up my teeth, a fall down the stairs at a railway station in London, half a day or so in a London hospital, getting lost in France, camping out in a storm and an epic (for me) bike ride without being able to eat to replace the energy that I was using up.
The story of the trip was covered in detail by Beat Mageazine, so rather than fill the pages of the website with replica information, if you’re interested in reading the full story, please click on this link to Beat Magazine
The Just for the Ride trip was made possible by a great group of sponsors who are listed on the end of the Beat story.